It’s March. Spring has sprung, the tiny bean is now allegedly the size of an axolotl and is very much making it’s presence known! As of today, the beastie is 20 weeks old. Some milestones since January:-
Signing up for Antenatal Care
This didn’t quite go as I’d anticipated. I was expecting a full MOT and a blood test to at least check that I wasn’t making the whole thing up. Instead, I was in and out of the GP’s room within the NHS-allotted 10 minutes. My blood pressure was taken (116 / 68), and I was told it was too low; it’s always around that level, but the doctor was having none of it. At all subsequent appointments, my low-end-of-normal blood pressure has caused no consternation; it’s apparently a good thing to start from a lower base, given it’s likely to rise toward the end of this adventure. That, together with a weight check and a pile of leaflets and forms was all I was given before I was on my way home.
The pile of paperwork from the GP included a list of things I already knew re taking care of myself, and very little on what I needed, ie what to do next and properly checking that all was well with me and the bean. One helpful thing on the GP leaflet was the list of hospitals for nearby antenatal care, and confirmation that I could self-refer (and a further GP trip was not therefore vital). In the hope that I will continue to have a straightforward pregnancy, I have chosen what appears to be a wonderful, birth centre to look after me and in which the creature will hopefully make it’s first appearance.
Having had a pretty easy first trimester and feeling unworried by the whole thing, I was somewhat late in signing up for antenatal care, so this wasn’t done until I was circa 14 weeks along. I’d actually had so few symptoms (and having had no confirmation of the pregnancy other than the home test), I was half expectng the sonographer to report that they could see nothing other than gas, and I was imagining the whole thing! Once in the darkened room with a very glamorous pair of sonographers and the lovely husband, I failed to suppress a squeak when the unmistakeable outline of a tiny human appeared in all its fuzzy monochrome glory on the screen. Although I couldn’t feel it, the creature was wriggling merrily throughout the scan. The pre-scan instructions stated that I should arrive with a full bladder to ensure the creature was pushed into a position where it could be seen. I followed this a little too closely, and was asked, mid-scan to go to the loo, as the sonographer couldn’t press down enough to take the required measurements! I was most relieved that all appeared to be well with the bean, but frustrated that I wouldn’t see it again for another month or so. I seriously considered booking a private scan so I could see it again, but just about managed to exercise restraint.
First Midwife Appointment
Like the GP visit, this wasn’t quite what I was expecting, albeit it was a longer appointment. An hour or so of form-filling, followed by some most exciting blood and urine samples. Not much time for any general discussion, but I finally felt I’d properly started the formalities of this adventure. Even more so, now that I’d been given the Bounty folder for my notes, which I’d seen all the other expectant parents carrying around. It was not dissimilar to the first day and school, and gathering all the equipment needed to get you through term. All I have to do now is apply myself to my studies …
Telling Family, Friends and Work
I’ve always promised myself that if I have a child, it would not be until I felt comfortable in myself, my life and with my partner. I didn’t reach that point until I was in my late ’30s, and as such (without prompting from me), certain members of my family reached their own conclusions that I would never have children and was happier with my dog and career. I’m as big a fan of changing perceptions as I am of lists, so I took great joy in telling them the bean-related news. One proponent of the “dog / career” theory was my own mother, who has spent many years dining out on having put me into this box, (and my sister into a “caring / outdoorsy” box – she works for the NHS, has a son and likes running). This was great in one respect, as I was not subjected to any expectations while I was enjoying other aspects of my life, but grossly reductionist in all other respects. I could almost hear the cogs in her brain grinding to a halt as they struggled to assimilate this new information, and she even tried insisting that I had once told her (allegedly circa 20 years ago) that I didn’t want children, and that this was justification for the reality she had constructed. I resisted the urge to respond “oops, yes; you’re quite right. I shall amend this situation immediately”. Few things irk me more than people thinking they know my own mind better than I do!
In general though, telling everyone (even my mother) was a lovely way to spend an evening. It’s nice to be able to now talk about it, and not have to attempt to disguise the fact that I’m not drinking.
Telling my work was something that I was almost more concerned about than ensuring the little bean was healthy. I’m working on a complex and long-term housing project, which can’t easily be handed over to someone on a short-term contract while I’m on leave, hence I wanted to ensure it’s given to the right person, and also that I leave it in a good state for that person. I wasn’t expecting any animosity to the fact that I was having a child, but that didn’t stop me from getting a terrible case of the shakes before making the announcement. As is good practice, I told my boss first, and he was really lovely; in fact I think he might have been more excited than me! Having got caught up in my work, it was a few hours before I told anyone else, and I kept getting excited looks and whispers from him, checking if I’d told anyone else yet. The poor chap looked like he might pop, so I duly told everyone else, to the receipt of many congratulations, hugs and, of course, various bits of advice.
Not long after making my work announcement, I felt the creature re-positioning iteself; an odd sensation, comparable to a particularly animated bowel movement! This has continued for the past few weeks, and is particularly amusing first thing in the morning, where, if I’ve been sleeping on my side, the bean has curled up on the corresponding side. If I then lie on my back when I wake up, I have a comedy lopsided bump until the beast wakes up and resumes normal service in the middle of my belly. A week or so ago, I was kicked (or perhaps punched or elbowed) by the little person. Who’d have thought that being thumped from the innards could bring such joy?! It wasn’t the”popping” or “rolling sensation” that some describe; my experience was that it feels exactly like what it is, ie small limbs thrashing around. The kicks have been getting stronger, and can now just about be felt from the outside. I was therefore able to share this fun experience with the lovely husband the other day. He was less impressed than me. Will have to train the bean to punch him on the nose next …